Waste Free

Sustainable Living – Where to Start

If you have made it through all of the posts during this first week, I would like to quickly say thank you! We have talked about a lot of things this and if it has intrigued you here are a few tips on where to start moving towards a zero waste lifestyle.

Make Sure You Have Done an Audit

This was one of the things I mentioned right back at the beginning. Make sure you figure out where you’re at so you can clearly figure out where you want to get to. If you want to refresh your memory, I won’t repeat myself so check out this post. Please don’t get stressed out when you do this, it will most likely look worse than it is and if it is bad, then your job of reducing your waste has just got easier because you have lots of options!

Buddy Up

Whether it is with your partner, your mum, your next-door neighbour or just someone you meet in the park, tell someone what you’re doing. Why? Because it will hold you accountable. Having said this, make sure the accountability spurs you on and doesn’t cause anxiety. It is important that whoever you share with that you can be honest. None of us are perfect but it is always so much easier if we don’t do things by ourselves. If you are super stuck, then send me a message and it would be great to be your zero-waste buddy.

Something I also would like to say here is that at some point you will have moments where you feel a little overwhelmed and that is okay. Chat with your buddy about it, share your experiences and build each other up. Chances are they will be be amazed by your progress and will make you feel much better. Do bear in mind that some people may not agree with the idea of living sustainably and that is okay. Be understanding and agree to disagree but most importantly don’t let it get you down, it is okay to have different views, it makes life more interesting.

Live Within Your Means

I have touched on this a little bit throughout the week, but make sure you aren’t putting yourself in debt both financially and emotionally. Don’t let it become an extra stress in your life because none of us need that. Sustainable living in itself is an incredibly positive step so remember to always look how far you have come and not how far you have to go. Be proud of yourself, even if this is the first time you have thought about it, because we are all trying to do our best and I know you are too.

In the same way, make sure you do what is right for you. If you find food a tricky subject, for instance, maybe that isn’t the place to start. If you have a low income, maybe expensive swaps aren’t for you. Instead, do the things you are able to do and be proud of that. At the end of the day, it is much more important that you are okay in yourself, otherwise sustainability will become a burden, which it shouldn’t be.

Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes

I have gone on about this a lot already and I will continue to… NONE OF US ARE PERFECT! There will come a time that you will be out and look into your bag and realise you’ve left your water bottle at home. Be sensible, accept that it has happened and allow yourself to buy a bottle of water if you need one. Trust me, you’ll be no good to anyone if you are dehydrated. Once at uni, I left my bottle at home and wouldn’t let myself buy one from the shop on campus. It was a massive mistake, I felt grotty and didn’t take anything in during the lecture. I should have just bought one because at the end of the day it was only one bottle in about 3 years now. I realise there is that saying “It’s just one bottle, said 7 billion people” but please, please just buy one if you are thirsty. Your health always comes first.

In the same way, if you have the best intentions and take a reusable coffee cup to a shop and the barista puts it in a disposable one, don’t beat yourself up. It isn’t your fault and just recycle what you can. There is always next time.

Do a bit of research

If you’re reading this then you’ve already started this one! But there are some more awesome blogs, podcasts and books out there. One of my first zero waste reads was F**k Plastic which I personally think is a great beginners guide. It has 101 ways to reduce your plastic waste and is super simple! It doesn’t cost very much so why not pick up a copy, share it with your friends or see if it is in your local library. If you want some more recommendations send me a message and I can point you in the right direction.

Pick Something to Tackle First

This is something else I have gone on about a lot this week. We all have to start somewhere and is better to pick one thing and make a habit that is going to stick rather than try to take on too much at once, burn out and revert to how we were before. Whether it is reducing your food packaging, reducing your food waste, switching up your bathroom products or giving up fast fashion, do whatever suits you. Remember you have time ahead of you and there’s no need to rush yourself.

Remember reusable over disposable

Above everything else on this list, try to look into reusable products where ever possible. Every time you invest in something you can use more than once you are automatically reducing your waste and saving money. If your budget doesn’t stretch to some fancy “ethical” products but you can afford to pick up something plastic that you will use over and over for years then it is better than nothing. In the same way, if you do end up with something disposable try to make into a reusable. For example, don’t just recycle plastic takeaway containers wash them and use them as make shift tupperware.

I don’t know about you but seven posts in seven days has worn me out so I am off for a nap. Don’t forget if you have found this week useful then share it with your friends and let me know in the comments. If you haven’t already make sure you have followed me on my social media pages and get in contact if there is any content you would really like to see. Again, thank you so much for following these launch week posts and I will speak to you again on Thursday for my first review.

Lottie xx

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